Riders have traveled thousands of miles on rented Lime scooters a month after a fleet of the dockless devices arrived in Little Rock, netting the company tens of thousands of dollars in potential ridership revenue, according to an analysis of data released by the company Thursday.
Hundreds of green scooters descended on Little Rock sidewalks in early January as part of a half-year pilot program, drawing a mix of responses from residents and city leaders.
According to company data, people have taken more than 14,000 rides on the vehicles, traveling a total of 14,150 miles 30 days after they arrived.
"We've been very pleased with our numbers in Little Rock," said Todd O'Boyle, director of government relations in the Southeast for Lime.
He added that ridership appears in line with similar-sized cities and that the company has seen "strong ridership in spite of cold weather."
The company has tracked steady ridership throughout the day, with peaks around the morning and evening rush hours, which suggests people are using the scooters to commute, O'Boyle said.
One surprising trip he has observed is that riders have frequently traveled between downtown and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock campus, a more than 5-mile ride.
The data show that riders averaged 3.45 mph during their trips, with a median ride time of about 9 minutes. The most popular destinations for riders have been the Arkansas River Trail and the River Market.
Users rent the scooters for a $1 fee using a mobile app and can travel up to 15 mph once aboard. The mobile app tracks where scooters are around the city.
Based on average speeds and total miles traveled, the company netted upward of $50,000 in ridership revenue in its first month, according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette analysis of the provided numbers.
The analysis doesn't factor in things like promotional coupons and other discounts.
The company declined to comment on the analysis.
Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola introduced the scooters before leaving office in December, and they have not been without scrutiny.
Little Rock city officials sent a letter to the California-based company last month, voicing concerns over rider safety and minors riding them. The letter said the city planned to end its working agreement with Lime in mid-May.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. previously said scooters enhance city life but he wants companies to submit formal bids before they bring in the vehicles. He said the city's letter saying it won't offer a longer deal with Lime doesn't necessarily spell an end to scooters or dockless bikes in Little Rock.
Company leaders at Lime said they're responding to the city's concerns. They said they've sent more staff members to Little Rock to work with riders, and plan to hold an event about rider safety with the Police Department in the near future.
The company also changed its mobile app, requiring riders to scan an ID their first time.
But a bigger roadblock comes in city codes, which require riders to travel along sidewalks instead of streets, an issue that initially conflicted with Lime's rider instructions.
Numerous cities have banned people from riding on sidewalks in recent months.
O'Boyle said the company said it was working to craft an ordinance with the city on the matter and met with city officials about possible changes to city rules.
"The technology is so new that we have to work with local policymakers," O'Boyle said. "There's a lot of experimentation and testing new ideas."
State Desk on 02/16/2019
Print Headline: Users of Lime scooters in Little Rock log 14,150 miles